The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has selected the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to manage a consortium and five-year experimental program on advancing hypersonic flight systems. TEES is a state agency of the Texas A&M University System. Along with TEES, the $20 million/year initiative will involve many of the top universities in the U.S., industry, and federally funded research centers in hopes of accelerating the development of hypersonic flight systems for national defense. The University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) will attempt to move forward quickly in basic hypersonic knowledge and learn to apply new developments to real-world applications.
John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M System, said: “Tell us how we can help protect this nation and we’ll be right there. We have experience managing consortiums and our hypersonic research capabilities are second to none.” The UCAH will be capably managed by one of the leading hypersonic researchers in the U.S., Dr. Rodney Bowersox, professor of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University. The list of contributing institutions is impressive, with the consortium formed by hypersonic experts from top universities, including Texas A&M, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Arizona, the University of Tennessee Space Institute, Morgan State University, the California Institute of Technology, Purdue University, the University of California-Los Angeles, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The DoD contract comes as the Texas A&M University System is preparing to build the largest enclosed hypersonic test range in the country as part of the George H. W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) on the RELLIS campus in Bryan, TX. UCAH will perform considerable software modeling and testing in hopes of speeding the development of real-world hypersonic systems. “This first-of-its kind Consortium will be critical to advancing hypersonics research and innovation, a key priority of the Department of Defense,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. TEES has identified more than 41 institutions from at least 23 states committed to being part of the UCAH, with participation growing over time.